Fredrik Neij, the last Pirate Bay co-founder to still be at large, has been arrested by police in Thailand
Fredrik Neij, the last Pirate Bay co-founder to still be at large, has been arrested by police in ThailandAFP

Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij, the final co-founder of infamous peer-to-peer file sharing site The Pirate Bay who was still at large has been arrested by police while trying to cross from Laos into Thailand, with just over a year to go before the statute of limitations ran out on the warrant for his arrest.

"Mr Neij was detained ... while trying to cross into Thailand from Laos where he had been living since 2012," Thailand regional police chief Chartchai Eimsaeng told reporters.

Neij was convicted in 2009 together with fellow co-founders Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström of aiding copyright infringement in Sweden, and after a failed appeal in 2010 that led to reduced sentences relating to copyright infringement but more damages.

Sunde went into hiding in Berlin while Neij travelled to Laos, where he has been hiding out until now.

Simon Klose's independent film TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard, which was released last year, features interviews with Neij on 26 November 2010, the day he heard the news about Pirate Bay losing its appeal.

"I can serve a prison sentence, but why do it if I don't have to?" he told the documentary makers. "The statute of limitations is five years. They can't issue an international warrant of arrest. I can sit here and jerk off for five years. And I will."

According to TorrentFreak, Neij moved to Laos in 2010, where he married his girlfriend in a local ceremony and settled there with her and their children.

Due to the country being one of Southeast Asia's poorest, it lacked a good healthcare system and on an estimated 27 occasions, Neij and his family had to cross the border into Thailand.

In 2012, the Swedish Embassy in Thailand became wise to this and revoked his passport, and when he tried to drive across the border again yesterday (3 November), he was held by police in Nong Khai, a city in north-eastern Thailand.

Well unfortunately for Neij, his time is finally up. His co-founders have all been serving time – Lundström, who financed the Pirate Bay's ISP, and Svartholm are the only ones to have completed their sentences in Sweden.

Sunde was arrested in southern Sweden in June and is currently in jail, where his family and supporters claim he has been mistreated, to the point that he has lost 13kg in just two months and was threatened that he would have to wear handcuffs to attend his father's funeral in September.

Meanwhile, Svartholm, who moved to Cambodia after completing his sentence, was eventually extradited to Denmark last year.

Last week he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for hacking into IT company CSC's mainframe computers and illegally downloading files from the company.

"My recommendation has always been that the investigation has focused on finding clues that point to my client, even though the tracks have also pointed in another direction," Svartholm's lawyer Luise Høj told Denmark's TV2 on Thursday (30 October).

"I have recommended that the court dismiss the case based on the remote access argument. It is clear that my client's computer has been the subject of remote control, and therefore he is not responsible."